Vote Chicago

Illinois holds its municipal elections apart from the general elections held on even years. This year will feature elections in many towns and other units of local government. I don’t know what percentage of Yip Abides’ audience lives in Chicago or even in Illinois, but it would be a fair guess that the two categories are a plurality at best. If you inhabit Illinois or most especially Chicago, this public service announcement is for you.

In Illinois generally, these local elections will be held April 4, 2023. Consult your county’s Board of Elections for more information. In Chicago (and perhaps in several other jurisdictions) there will be a primary election on February 28.

Over the years, the Chicago municipal election has become non-partisan in the sense that the candidates are listed without any party label and all voters are welcome. A candidate winning a majority of the votes in the primary is elected; otherwise, the April election features a rematch of the top two vote-getters.

Early voting is already in progress in Chicago, by mail and at two Chicago Loop “super-site” voting locations. On February 13, an early voting station will be open in each of Chicago’s 50 wards. On February 28, election day, there will be a polling place open in every precinct. For more information, visit the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

Note that these local elections generally have a pretty poor turnout, meaning that those who do turn out to vote have a greater say in the outcome than they would otherwise. Use it or lose it.

For those curious about the politics (or needing to make voting choices), I’d recommend the news-blog Block Club Chicago as a great place to begin. My old outfit, Chicago DSA,* has some endorsements that you might check out for activism or, at least, motivation.

* Still a member but militantly inactive.

Public Private Spaces

Photo by Roman.

When I first thought about posting these images, it was mostly to observe how property management seems to be taken with the idea of creating private public spaces for their tenants. It would be a nice lead-in to a rant about excessive and exploitative rents, but… It’s not a new story… Only that recently two buildings along Sheridan Road have added private plazas in public view and they were not buildings that I would have predicted to do so. Not that I stare at crystal balls all day, but you know what I mean. As a sign of the apocalypse it would provide a good place to start a rant about Rogers Park gentrifying… And maybe it is this time for sure… but it’s been threatening to do so all the decades I’ve lived here.

So what am I left with? Mostly the incongruity of the meanings we impose on our human landscape.

Photo by Roman.
Photo by Roman.



A public service announcement:

Yes, it is some weeks away until the November elections, the traditional day being Tuesday, November 8, when polling places will be open in all the precincts. In Illinois, early in-person voting is beginning at selected locations around Illinois and will continue until November 7. For those who would vote by mail, now is the time to trek to the post office; the last day to apply for a mail ballot by mail is November 3. (Don’t wait until then.)

The early early voting sites are mostly the various county and sometimes municipal Boards of Elections offices. For information, you can find your local web sites (mostly county clerks offices) through your favorite web search or through links at the Illinois State Board of Elections. Some of the information you might be looking for from a county site can also be found at the Illinois site, so explore.

For Chicagoans, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has a helpful site. You’ll note that early voting begins on Friday, October 7 with two polling places open in Chicago’s Loop. Beginning Monday, October 24, there will be an additional polling place open (7 days a week) in each ward.

And yes, you should cast a ballot, even if you know nothing, even if you leave some of the contests blank. Voting is one of those things that must be used to not be lost. It’s one of those things you might not miss until one day you do and then you’ll really miss it.

Labor Day

Photo by Roman: May Day, Chicago, 2006.

Labor Day isn’t, really, unless you mean something like: Last call for alcohol; it’s the end of summer and time to get back to work. Also, while the idea for the holiday has its roots in organized labor, my humble opinion is that it amounts to President Grover Cleveland’s weak grin in the direction of old Sam Gompers (Gompers was born old.) and what remained of the railway Brotherhoods (fergitabout Debs). I mean… a buncha states had already adopted the holiday or something similar, but when originally enacted, the Federal version only applied to Federal employees…

Anyway, let’s celebrate the occasion of Labor’s day in the USA with something from the UK, The Longest Johns:

“Broken Ties”

A hat-tip to Hettie D. because that blog is where I was introduced to this documentary. Hettie highly recommended “watching this movie to all my friends who ask me “how Russian people feel about what’s going on”. There are English subtitles.”

This is a feature length video, however, so you should probably bookmark the video for when you have some time to be engaged with it. The documentary was directed by Russian journalist and independent filmmaker Andrey Loshak. The documentary was produced for Current Time. For the hyper-partisan amongst us, yes: Current Time is a project of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty and I’m just fine with that. If you are not then you probably ought to watch the documentary, but I won’t argue.

I left this documentary with some observations that are difficult to write about, mainly because anyone reading what I have to say before watching the documentary will likely be misled regarding its content. This is, in essence, a love story that follows several families who span the Ukraine / Russia divide. It is about the fear, anger and bewilderment that comes when someone you intimately know and love becomes repugnantly alien in an existentially fraught situation.

And that fraught situation is the “politics by other means” of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Having been active in protesting the Vietnam war (among others), I found the documentary to be distressingly familiar. I leave doing a compare-and-contrast re: Vietnam and Ukraine to you, dear reader, but it’s worth pointing out that it is not at all clear how much the U.S. anti-war movement influenced government policy. Certainly it was a decisive influence on a good many political careers, but the war dragged on. I suspect whatever constraints the movement placed on actual policy was secondary to the disintegration of the U.S. military in Vietnam: the fragging, drug use, refusal of orders, not to mention the occasional racial conflict. There are stories suggesting something similar is happening to the Russian military in Ukraine, but the context is different… so who knows what will happen?

Vote Tuesday, June 28

Mural just south of Addison Street on Clark Street. There’s a second panel but a vehicle was blocking the shot. Photo by Roman.

The 2022 Illinois Primary Election Day is Tuesday, June 28. It is your last opportunity to help chose your party’s candidates for the November general election by casting your vote in person, assuming you’re either a Democrat or a Republican.

For more information regarding polling places and candidates, consult your local board of election web site. You can find this plus additional information at the Illinois State Board of Election. Residents of Chicago can go directly to Chicago’s Board of Election Commissioners.

Use it or lose it.

Illinois Votes! 2022

Mural just south of Addison Street on Clark Street. There’s a second panel but a vehicle was blocking the shot. Photo by Roman.

The 2022 primary election in Illinois began this week and will conclude on election day: June 28, 2022. For more information, start with the Illinois State Board of Elections.  For some things, you’ll end up at your local county’s board of elections web site. So if you live in Chicago, go directly to Chicago’s Board of Election Commissioners.

This election is conducted by the governments of Illinois on behalf of whatever parties have jumped through the challenges required to gain the golden fleece of official recognition. In Illinois, this means the Democratic and Republican brands though there may be more choices where you live.

By taking a party ballot, you become a member of that party in the sight of the law… even if for only one brief moment until you repent. But that choice remains a matter of public record.

The election will determine each party’s nominees for the November General Election and will elect members of each party’s governing committees. (Yes, once your party has that official recognition, much of your party’s structure is mandated by state law.)

It is true that there are a good many contests whose outcomes won’t be particularly meaningful. My way of dealing with that is to simply not vote in those contests. But I can almost always find one or more contests of interest. Really, I can’t think of any political work lasting about a half hour that would be more consequential than the half hour spent casting your vote.

* For those interested in third parties and different voting systems, allow me to recommend Richard Winger’s Ballot Access News as a news source about what is happening in legislatures and courts about elections and voting.

Two Upcoming Events

Haymarket Martyrs’ monument, the old Waldheim Cemetery. Photo by Roman.

May Day, the international Labor Day, is very much my holiday. Here are two upcoming events for those of you in the Chicago area. I would be very inclined to do both if I had my way. I would then also say: “See you there!” But alas I am a geezerly male and so that makes making such commitments a chancy thing. Maybe, then.

Chicago’s Haymarket Free Speech memorial. Photo by Roman.

Haymarket Square May Day Commemoration

Sunday, May 1, 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
DesPlaines St between Randolph and Lake, Chicago

“Italian unionists from the Federation of Metallurgical and Office Workers (FiOM) will join the ILHS at 12:30 p.m. on May Day, Sunday, May 1, to unveil their commemorative plaque on the Haymarket’s Square statue’s base. The base features plaques from labor movements around the globe, marking May 1 as International Workers’ Day.”

For more information, visit the Illinois Labor History Society’s calendar entry.

DSAer Dave Rathke tends to the Mother Jones balloon. Photo by Roman.

Mother Jones’ Birthday Party

Sunday, May 1, 4 PM to 6 PM
Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox, Chicago

Guest will include Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson, Irish General Consul Kevin Byrne, artist Lindsay Hand, musicians Paddy Homan, Kathy Cowen and the SAG-AFTRA singers, with emcee Chicago Federation of Labor Secretary-Treasurer Don Villar.

Admission is free but RSVP please at the Mother Jones Museum calendar where there is also more information.